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  • Writer's pictureAlexa Bouhelier-Ruelle

Exhibition: ‘Brigitte Bardot au-delà de l’image’ in Villefranche-sur-Mer

Celebrating her 90th birthday, Villefranche-sur-mer pays tribute to France’s beloved ‘BB’  with a photographic retrospective at La Citadelle.


Brigitte Bardot stretches out on the grass between takes of Le Mepris. 1963. © PDM 1.0

Since her first feature film in 1953, Brigitte Bardot never ceased to shine. Praised as a muse to numerous artists, women, and directors, her ‘french girl’ charm and iconic look of platinum blonde hair and simple black eyeliner attracted the lenses of the most talented photographers. Through her personal and public life, Brigitte Bardot became an international superstar. 


This year, as Brigitte Bardot turns 90, Villefranche-sur-mer celebrates her legendary persona through an exclusive exhibition paying tribute to an undeniably talented woman, who transcended cinema to become an authentic icon, showing women all over the world what it truly meant to be free. 


In collaboration with the town of Villefranche-sur-mer and Mr Henry-Jean Servat, La Citadelle-Centre d’art & Muséesis is opening a special exhibition featuring the photographs of Leonard de Raemy (1924-2000).  starting with one of Bardot’s first roles, a movie echoing the old Hollywood glamour of the 1950s on the French Riviera. In “Un acte d’amour”, directed by Anatole Litvak and filmed in Villefranche-sur-mer in 1953 (released in France in 1954), BB sparkles in her performance alongside Kirk Douglas and Dany Robin.


At the time, the photos by the Swiss photographer were little-known, but his ability to capture her charisma and vulnerability catapulted her into the international spotlight. De Raemy’s photos revealed what was at the very core of Brigitte Bardot’s persona–both her sensitivity and her strength. Following the exhibition, each shot tells a different story, witnessing a woman’s evolution through the characters she portrayed on the screen, but also the public performance she was cultivating through her public appearances. The photos reveal someone who can be bubbling and happy, while calm and full of introspection, someone who decades later fascinates entire generations. 


Even if Brigitte Bardot is well known for her beauty and talent, she was also a pioneer, defying society’s standards and trailblazing a new vision of femininity and independence. Those photos captured by Leonard de Raemy offer a look into her rebellious behaviours, unveiling a more vulnerable side to a legendary icon.

This exhibition is at its core a celebration of Brigitte Bardot’s life and her career in French cinema but it is also an immersive experience into the life of a woman who captivated the world while never losing sight of her authentic self.


For more information:



‘Brigitte Bardot au-delà de l’image’

9 March - 26 May, 2024

Chapelle Saint-Elme in La Citadelle

06230 Villefranch-sur-Mer


Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except on public holidays.



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